Friday, August 29, 2008

Savannah and Pumpkin (photo's by Lea Hayward :)

As summer is coming to a close for the girls and they're gearing up for school (Savannah is going into 2nd Grade and Sophie will begin Pre-School) Savannah was treated to a week at horse camp. Since she was born, she was destined to be a horse lover. There really was no question about it and it's been confirmed.

Lea has been extremely diligent about getting the girls to swimming lessons a couple times a week, Savannah was in tennis lessons over the summer and now horse camp. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get time away from work to go watch her ride her new equine friend pumpkin so I equipped Lea with a 20D and a 70-200 to see what it was like. I think Lea did a good job getting some nice shots and was even thorough enough to get some cool detail shots. Here are a few...

Leading the Pack!
Savannah and Pumpkin

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Don't Fly with Jet Blue!

Randy Kepple is an exceptionally talented photographer based out of Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA. I consider him to be a good friend and his blog is one of my all time favorites. Randy has a natural gift for telling stories through both his photographs and his writing.

Recently he flew to the East Coast to shoot a wedding. On the way back there were some freak storms and flights were cancelled. The way in which he was treated by Jet Blue was unforgivable. Fortunately, Randy has a determined, intelligent and persistent wife who miraculously was able to find him a last minute ticket through Frontier Air who could and should write a book on customer service and out of pity should send a copy to Jet Blue.

I won't do the story justice by trying to retell it here. Instead, I feel compelled to post a link to Randy's blog so you can read it for yourself. Jet Blue sent him a half assed apology basically excusing themselves from any responsibility for their action along with a $75 travel voucher that I hope he will never use. In todays competitive market for travel I am shocked that any airline can stay in business with this type of (lack of) customer service.

Randy's Jet Blue Blog Post

Friday, August 22, 2008


Hi Everyone,

I am proud to announce that my new wildlife photography web site is up and running!

Please visit and check it out!

I've still got many images to upload so check back every now and then and please send the link to your email buddies!

All the best,


Monday, August 18, 2008

Day 10: Cats and Carnage in the Crater (Ngorongoro)

Sunday: I slept in until almost 6:30AM! That was nice. Took another hot shower and met Nickson in the dining room for breakfast. Fresh Papaya, Banana, Cereal, Scrambled eggs and bacon. I am loving the fresh fruit here. We made the drive into Ngorongoro Crater which took about an hour from Bouganvillea. We instantly found many Zebra and Wildebeest. The Alkaline Lake smells interesting. There are Pink Flamingo's on it but again we can't get close enough for a detailed shot of them. As I am writing this, about 75 yards away a Black Rhino and her calf are laying down in a field. There or very few of these magnificent beasts left in the wild and here are two of them. Amazing! I am sad to report my binoculars have gone missing. They were on the front seat for our drive yesterday. Now they are gone. I hope they weren't stolen (they were).

-Sitting in the car eating a boxed lunch at a nice park area of the crater. We saw one more Rhino pretty far away. It's awesome to see them. Visited the hippo pool here. It's nice, but my favorite hippo pool was at Serengeti for sure. At this one there were lions sleeping high above the pool on some rocks. So far in my opinion, Ngorongoro Crater is a let-down considering all the hype. Everyone has been saying it is the very best so my expectations were high. It is very nice, but not a mind blower. In my opinion, Tarangiri was the nicest most diverse area of the trip.

-So after lunch we drove on and saw a Serval Cat in the distance hunting. It's a smaller cat and was pretty far off so I didn't get much of a shot. We drove for a couple of hours without seeing much of anything at all. It was quite dull. This was the only drive this entire trip that we've been on in the middle of the afternoon (because you can't exit and enter) I'm glad we didn't do more.

-We came across a flock of Crown Cranes which were really quite extraordinary. Then some Warthogs were in a good spot to get some closeups. Followed by some super-tight Zebra shots. Therer were thousands of Wildebeest and Zebras in the crater. Incomprehensible numbers. I can only imagine what it's like in Kenya at Maasai Mara where the migrating herds are at now. A while later, Nickson got the call I'd been waiting for the entire trip. The Pride of Lions above the Hippo Pool had killed a Zebra! We flipped a U-turn and hauled ass to the hippo pool. There were dozens of cars already there. Apparently the kill occurred about an hour before we arrived. The lions weren't in a very good spot and I could barely make out a patch of black and white (and red) at the bottom of a dip in the ground. The two males were laying down snoozing peacefully. Their faces were covered in blood. One female was eating the zebra. There was a Jackal keeping his distance on one side and a hyena on the other. Both were patiently waiting for their chance to eat as I was (im)patiently waiting for some cars to move to get a better angle for a decent photograph. Finally, the other cars got bored and left. We were able to drive to a much better position. They were still very far away and I was glad I brought the Canon 400mm f/2.8L IS lens. I added the 2X II converter and was shooting 800mm f/5.6. The eating lioness started working hard to get a good chunk of meat and had lifted the Zebra's head up so I could see it better. I fired off a bunch of shots with my fingers crossed hoping some will be good. We stuck around for awhile. It sucked not having the binoculars as they would have come in handy. I sure hope they turn up. We drove a bit further and saw a Lion cub being taunted by a Jackal while his mother stood watch. I took some photo's but they were even further back so I doubt they'll be usable (they weren't).

Driving on, we found a Brown Snake on the side of the road. Further still was a Cheetah wayyy out in the distance. No shot possible. We then came across a beautiful Serval Cat hunting right next to the road giving me a great photo opportunity. We were on our way out at this point and passed a giant herd of Wildebeest. I grabbed some photo's but it will be difficult to represent the magnitude of the herd. The road out of the crater was narrow and consisted of soft red dirt with an precariously steep drop to our immediate right. Treacherous.

Driving to camp we passed a huge elephant on the side of the road. The wide angle shots of the close elephants are some of my favorites I think. We arrived at camp and Swalehh had already set up my tent which was Poa (cool). The bathroom nearest is the nastiest yet. A non-flushing stone toilet with a pile of poo petrified on the rim. Nasty. At another section of camp where there is only 2 tents set up I walked to check out the bathroom and found it immaculate! Private stalls, running water, the works. Awesome!

I walked back to my side of the camp and there was a massive elephant in camp! He was drinking water from the mess tent supply. Soon a crowd gathered snapping photo's. He was very impressive and didn't seem too disturbed by us. It's so funny, I'm now pretty much used to wild animals in camp (easy to say when it's still light out :)

I'm now sitting outside my tent eating popcorn and waiting for dinner and a good nights sleep. I'm ready for the drive back to Arusha, the long flight home and the highly anticipated reunion with my beautiful family.

Dinner was good as usual. Peanut Soup followed by Mbuze Cataliki (Pork Chops..aka Catholic Lamb) and Crepe' Suzette...yum yum.

After dinner, I hiked to the (clean) bathroom in the dark. My flashlight caught the reflection of glowing eyes and there grazing beside me were 7 zebras. Too cool. When done, I tried to see how close I could get but about 15 feet was it before they slowly walked away. The camp is crowded. There are a bunch of giggling teenagers so once again I am grateful for the earplugs :)

I talked to Savannah and Sophie on the phone tonight-I cannot wait to see them!

Good Night.

Halfway down the road into the crater we were greeted by hundreds of zebras.
Running Wildebeest
Profile of a Wildebeest.
A Zebra standing in front of the Pink Flamingo covered lake.
A mother Black Rhino and her calf. Black Rhino's are bordering on extinction in the wild.
Ngorongoro Crater is home to many hippo's.
This Hippo was just showing off :)
The 3rd Black Rhino we saw in one day!

The beautiful Grey Crowned Crane.

It's good to be King of the Crater...
...though sometimes it sucks to be a zebra!
You gotta love Pink Flamingo's!
This snake was slithering in front of us on the road.
This Serval Cat was hunting for mice just next to the road on our way out. The other day I watched a BBC Special created by two people that spent 3 months in Tanzania searching for Serval Cats with no luck until 3 days before the end of their trip! A rare and special find.
I couldn't resist posting two shots of this awesome cat.
A Massive herd of Wildebeest.
This Monkey was one of several smart enough to hang out near the public restroom located next to the road out of Ngorongoro where they successfully beg for food and sometimes steal it from the exiting tourists.
Check out the root system on this tree I spotted on the steep road out of Ngorongoro Crater.
Another awesome elephant seen on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater. It is so cool to be close enough to shoot these guys with a 16-35mm lens.
All I needed was a copy of Popular Photography Mazazine, maybe a soft tune through the sound system and this bathroom would have had all the necessary comforts.
Holy Crap! This was a huge elephant walking into camp!
Turns out he was just a bit thirsty and this was an easier trip than walking down into the crater for a drink.
I wonder what a Health Inspector would have said about the standards of sanitation in the camp kitchen.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Jen and Tyson get married!

On Sunday August 10, 2008 I had a unique opportunity. My beautiful Cousin Jen married a great guy named Tyson and was thrilled to photograph the day. They were married in Port Angeles, WA at a beautiful French Restaurant owned by good friends of Jen's Dad (my Uncle John) C'est Si Bon.

The trip to Port Angeles didn't take as long as I had expected to I was happy to get there early enough to catch Jen and her Bridesmaids getting hair and makeup done. We headed over to the restaurant shortly after. It was great because my Mom, Uncles, Cousins were all there. While I was working of course, it was a great opportunity to catch up with family too.

Outside setting up flowers was Jen's Mom Patty. She said to me "I used to be your Aunt." Of course I remembered her very well and had been excited to see her as it's probably been nearly 30 years since the last time. I quickly informed her that she is still my Aunt and I got a big hug as a result.

Jen was so fun to spend the day with as her sense of humor is just like her Dad's. My Uncle John is someone that can make me laugh as much as, if not more than anyone else I know. He always has a funny look or an expression that is perfect for whatever moment has come up. Jen was the same way. Silly faces and jokes provided relief from the tension for her friends and family as well as herself. Get John and Jen together and watch out. See the photo below of the moment just before he walked her down the aisle to get an idea of what I'm referring to :)

After the ceremony they had a fun reception with a killer dinner. Filet Mignon or a Seafood dish were delicious. It was the first wedding I had been photographing where I was invited to sit at the table with the Father of the Bride. It was a great table to sit at too because John is as nuts about wine as anyone I know (except maybe Karen :) so there was some good vino being poured too.

It was a great day and I was thrilled to be there to photograph it and to enjoy it!

The Bride to be.
My Mom
Getting the Wedding Dress on is not an easy task.
Jen's Mom seeing her in the dress for the first time.
Too cute!
Daddy's Little Girl is all grown up now.
They got it together before the ceremony began though..:)
It was a beautiful day to get married.

I grabbed this photo real quick while Jen was holding her dress up to be bustled. Everythign is a photo op as far as I'm concerned :)
A Happy Husband.
My Brother-In-Law Mike and beautiful Niece Avery.
Here is a shot of my daughter Savannah asking the Bride to strike a pose. I was so proud :)
This little guy couldn't resist the temptation of the bridal bouquet lying by itself on a table nearby.
A proud Father.
1st Dance as husband and wife.
They simply could not keep their hands off each other.
I don't normally add these shots to the blog but the look on her face cracked me up as she looks about as nervous before the cake feeding as any bride I've ever seen. Nothing to worry about though..Tyson was quite the gentleman.
My adorable niece Ella is already breaking boys hearts!
Going for the garter.
Uncle Mark and Aunt Diane meeting a bit of resistance giving my Cousin Casey a bit of love.

The grand exit through a wall of bubbles.
Have fun on your honeymoon!
The problem with shooting a wedding with family is they feel compelled to take my camera from me. Lea shot this terrifying photo...yikes, are my nostrils really that big?!